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Engineering treatments for dry age-related macular degeneration

The problem:Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye disease which effects the retina at the back of the eye. It’s one of the leading causes of sight loss in the UK and currently, there is no cure.

Our solution: To replace the diseased cells in the retinas of AMD patients, through bioengineering, which is engineering that is applied to biology. We grow the replacement cells on a treated layer of material that is commonly used in waterproof clothing. We’re also developing the surgical tools and techniques to get the cells into the right part of the back of eye using a 3D printed tool. Developed using cutting-edge equipment at the University of Liverpool’s engineering department, the device will allow surgeons to position the cells precisely into the eye. This research could restore vision to people affected by dry AMD.

More than 15 years’ research underpins this project, involving staff and technologies funded through a number of organisations, including St Paul’s Research Foundation, Research & Development Support Fund, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital Trust.

Wider benefits: This technology could be used to treat other eye diseases, especially those affecting the back of the eye. The unique project fuses clinical/surgical and academic disciplines, developing the next generation of clinical academics and laboratory scientists.